Elliott Bay Book Company Capitol Hill
Thurs June 28, 2018, 7 pm
Recommended by Rich Smith
Joseph O'Neill regularly publishes beautifully structured, hysterically funny stories in the New Yorker. If you don't believe me, read "Pardon Edward Snowden," which is one of the 11 stories included in this collection. In the story, O'Neill uses a conversation between two poets to lambaste the language we use to discuss art's "utility," as well as the language that drives the various political conversations dominating the culture of writing at the moment. Ultimately he wonders if writers would do better to shut up about the #resistance and actually start resisting. Press materials suggest that the political lives of poets isn't the only bougie preoccupation that O'Neill takes aim at in this collection. Other stories involve a lonely wedding guest talking to a goose, a cowardly husband letting his wife fend off a possible home intruder, and a co-op renter in NYC struggling to find someone who can give him a character reference.